Dr John Young

Australian Defence Force Academy, UNSW
Research Field: Bio-mimicry and Aerodynamics
2012 ACT Young Tall Poppy of the Year

Dr Young is studying the complex aerodynamics of insects such as dragonflies, bees and locusts, to learn how we might replicate their abilities. Flapping wings, as an alternative to fixed or rotary wings, are at the cutting edge of Micro Air Vehicle development as designers seek to create vehicles from as small as 10 grams down to even 100 milligrams for flight in enclosed spaces. The same aerodynamic techniques might also lead to more efficient wind and water turbines based on flapping rather than rotating wings.

John’s most unique outreach work has been with the QL2 Centre for Youth Dance in Canberra. Since 2011 John has collaborated with the Artistic Director on incorporating bird and insect wing motions into dance choreography – communicating his area of scientific expertise to the general public in an innovative way. His research has also been the subject of in-depth interviews for TV news, radio, and newspaper articles including the New York Times and Sydney Morning Herald.